How sex affects gene expression in mammals

July 18, 2019

Researchers report the discovery of genome-wide variations in gene expression between mammalian females and males and offer new insights into the molecular origins and evolution of sexual dimorphism in mammal species, according to a new study. The findings could help explain the wide range of sex-specific differences in human health and disease. Female and male mammals often exhibit a variety of differences in biological processes and phenotypic traits. For example, in most mammal species males are larger than females, and because sex differences appear common across many species, animal models are often used to investigate sex-biased traits and diseases in humans. However, the effects of sex on gene expression, particularly in autosomal genes, aren't well known. To investigate how sex affects the genome, Sahin Naqvi and colleagues performed a genome-wide, multi-tissue and comparative survey of sex-biased gene expression across five mammalian species. Naqvi et al. collected RNA sequencing data from male and female macaques, mice, rats and dogs for 12 different tissues which represented each germ layer as well as most major organ systems. Non-human data was compared to corresponding human RNA-seq data from the Genotype Tissue Expression Consortium (GTEx), which catalogs gene expression across all major tissues in the human body. The comparative analyses revealed hundreds of conserved sex-biased gene expressions in each tissue, which contribute to differences in traits between the sexes. For example, nearly 12% of the sex difference observed in average human height can be accounted for through conserved sex biases in gene expression. The results also show, however, that most sex bias in gene expression is an evolutionarily recent adaptation and thus is not shared between all mammalian lineages - findings which warrant careful attention in the use of non-human models of sex differences.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Species Articles from Brightsurf:

A new species of spider
During a research stay in the highlands of Colombia conducted as part of her doctorate, Charlotte Hopfe, PhD student at the University of Bayreuth, has discovered and zoologically described a new species of spider.

Two new species of parasite discovered in crabs -- discovery will help prevent infection of other marine species
Two new species of parasite, previously unknown to science, have been discovered in crabs in Swansea Bay, Wales, during a study on disease in the Celtic and Irish Seas.

Marine species are outpacing terrestrial species in the race against global warming
Global warming is causing species to search for more temperate environments in which to migrate to, but it is marine species -- according to the latest results of a Franco-American study mainly involving scientists from the CNRS, Ifremer, the Université Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier and the University of Picardy Jules Verne -- that are leading the way by moving up to six times faster towards the poles than their terrestrial congeners.

Directed species loss from species-rich forests strongly decreases productivity
At high species richness, directed loss, but not random loss, of tree species strongly decreases forest productivity.

What is an endangered species?
What makes for an endangered species classification isn't always obvious.

One species, many origins
In a paper published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, a group of researchers argue that our evolutionary past must be understood as the outcome of dynamic changes in connectivity, or gene flow, between early humans scattered across Africa.

Species on the move
A total of 55 animal species in the UK have been displaced from their natural ranges or enabled to arrive for the first time on UK shores because of climate change over the last 10 years (2008-2018) -- as revealed in a new study published today by scientists at international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London).

Chasing species' 'intactness'
In an effort to better protect the world's last ecologically intact ecosystems, researchers developed a new metric called 'The Last of the Wild in Each Ecoregion' (LWE), which aimed to quantify the most intact parts of each ecoregion.

How do species adapt to their surroundings?
Several fish species can change sex as needed. Other species adapt to their surroundings by living long lives -- or by living shorter lives and having lots of offspring.

Five new frog species from Madagascar
Scientists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich and the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology have named five new species of frogs found across the island of Madagascar.

Read More: Species News and Species Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.